Category Archives: Abortion

Hot Air

Religious Freedom

The question has been put to me (and others) by loyal Northern Indiana Pencillista David Paglis:

I wonder if those opposed to the Religious Freedom [Restoration] Act would be in favor of legally requiring Catholic hospitals to provide abortion services and if not, why not.

For whatever reasons, those Catholics who are most flamboyantly passionate about their religion seem to be passionate most about abortion. Capital punishment? Meh. War? Sometimes ya gotta do it. Nuclear proliferation? Silence. Abortion, though, gets the uber-Catholic blood to boil. The only thing approaching it as a sheer reactionary trigger is homosexuality.

A more pressing Q. might be What is it with Catholics and sex? But that’s a topic about as inscrutable as quantum electrodynamics.

Anyway, let’s tackle David’s query.

Acc’d’g to pretty much everyone’s interpretation, Indiana’s spanking new SB-101 2015, AKA RFRA, allows business proprietors to do things like refuse service to LGBTQ folks if their (the proprietors’) religion sees them (LGBTQs) as sinners bound for the eternal flames of hell. We’ll ignore the utter absurdity of our state legislators penning laws to accommodate peoples’ belief in inanities like eternal damnation and a flaming hell. A brief reminder: The calendar tells us this is the year 2015; hell, natch, is a Mesopotamian cultural concept, meaning it was a an attempt to understand our shared baffling mortality by the very first proto-civilized Homo Sapiens sapiens more than 5000 years ago.

I might hope we’d have learned a few things since then.

Nevertheless, an alarming swath of the American pop. still buys into the hell thing. So much so, in fact, that they loathe even being around those whom they’re certain are on a highway to the place. And so sure are they of this that they’ve pressured our democratically elected representatives to codify it.

Again, in the year 2015, in case you’ve forgotten.

The law tells us we can’t make people do things that are in violation of their religion’s tenets. Indiana University Maurer School of Law prof. Daniel Conkle (a supporter of the new law) suggested last week in an Indy Star op/ed piece that laws such as RFRA protect, for instance, Muslim prisoners in their practice of Islam within the confines of the joint. Conkle also cited a Pennsylvania state court ruling that people could set up soup kitchens in city parks in violation of municipal statutes if their religion demanded they feed the homeless.

The government wanted to make the Muslim prisoner shave his beard and hoped to force the soup kitchen operators to stop ladling broth in the park. Under similar “religious freedom” laws, per this argument, the gov’t was barred from doing so. Huzzah, Conkle concludes, for these laws.

No one, though, has attempted to argue that Muslims should be forced to eat barbecued (pork) rib tips at the Taste of Bloomington. Nor has anyone demanded that soup kitchen operators make their broth available to lawyers, doctors, and hedge fund managers. Quite frankly, those of us who despise this new law don’t give a good goddamn if Muslims eat pork or that hedge fund managers are being deprived of free soup.

Nor do we, as a rule, care that Catholic hospitals don’t do abortions. In fact, many dioceses and hospitals have banned even the dilation & curettage procedure because it is often used as an alias for abortion. That’s like refusing to let customers to enter a bank lobby because bank robbers always use the lobby.

In any case, we should be demanding that Catholic hospitals, especially those that are the only health care facility for many miles around, provide abortion services. If you’re going to open up an ice cream parlor in this free society, you should be compelled to serve everybody who comes in except those causing mayhem, are public nuisances, or pose a threat to public health. Same with hospitals. Abortion is legal in this holy land. It’s a medical practice generally regarded as safe. If you open up a hospital, that means you should treat everybody who comes in the door using every therapy and procedure that’s been okayed by contemporary medical science.

Otherwise, don’t open a hospital. And try to think a little bit less about how gross sex is. And lose the habits and wimples while you’re at it. It’s 2015, for chrissakes.

Here’s Gov. Mike Pence signing RFRA last week, surrounded by officials of the Holy Roman Empire, the Kingdom of Israel, the Rashidun Caliphate, as well as various ascetics, mystics, and fundamentalists. In the year 2015. In case you’ve forgotten.

Pence RFRA Signing

Hot Air

Abortion

Ever since I first became aware of the abortion debate, back in 1970 when I was 14 and the Roe v. Wade lawsuit was filed in US District Court, I’ve had the feeling that a lot of pro-abortion advocates had a guilty conscience.

Blackmun

Justice Harry Blackmun Wrote The Eventual Decision

The name they called their movement — pro-choice — seemed a kind of misdirection, sort of like a red-handed kid saying to his mom, “But I didn’t really shoplift that record, I didn’t hide it or anything, I just carried it out of the store and nobody stopped me so, y’know, it’s their fault. It’s not really stealing. Honest.” Even as a tender teen, I couldn’t figure out why people fighting for abortion rights didn’t say they were pro-abortion.

Now I know the pro-abortion people didn’t all have guilty consciences. Some, maybe, yeah. But the vast majority of them didn’t feel that aborting an unwanted fetus was a mortal sin. Or even a venial sin. [For those of you who weren’t raised in Catholic schools, the Church makes distinctions between gross sins and easily forgivable ones.]

Still, all the arguments made by the “pro-choice” crowd were weighted down with excuse-copping and apologies. By the time Ronald Reagan was canonized into the Presidency, most “pro-choice” politicians were saying things like “I’m not in favor of abortion but I believe a woman should have the right to choose.”

Which sounds like a losing argument if I’ve ever heard one.

Bumper Sticker

Okay, Then Where Do You Stand?

The abortion rights argument often went, If woman are denied abortion, the babies they don’t want may be neglected, beaten, emotionally abused, tormented, starved, thrown in Dumpsters, and so on, a litany of horrors guaranteed to turn women seeking abortions into harpies that would terrify Adolph Hitler.

And some people wonder why the concept of feminism is not universally embraced. Feminists, Ma & Pa Murrica surmised, want abortions, plus they’re prone to throwing their babies into Dumpsters.

At times it seemed the “pro-choice” argument really was, We want every woman to have the right to an abortion and we’ll work like hell to make sure none of them ever gets one.

Like most liberals and Democrats of the last 45 or so years, the “pro-choice” people were mealy-mouthed, obsessively equanimous, tepid, and apologetic. The truth is the American electorate — hell, the electorate in any country on this Earth — despises people like that. We want — and by we, I mean human beings — leaders who are bold, strong, and confident. One of the reasons why the Conservative movement thrived in this holy land even after the supposed death of the Right in 1964 was that people like Saint Ronald “brazened it out.” The Right Wingers who would eventually take over this country stuck to their principles even when it seemed they were a minority of a dozen. Reagan himself refused to soften his rhetoric in the face of all sorts of advisors and friends urging him to do so.

Reagan won the presidency in 1980 because he appeared to tower above all the other mere politicians. He was so adept at brazening it out that even when he and his people were caught beyond a shadow of a doubt selling arms to Iran to finance the Contras in Nicaragua, he not only denied wrongdoing, he claimed the evidence simply wasn’t there.

It would have been like that shoplifting kid saying, “I didn’t steal anything. There was no record. There wasn’t even a record shop.”

And getting away with it.

Today, thanks in large part to pols who emulate Reagan’s appearance of towering strength and “pro-choicers” who shrug and alibi too much, abortion rights are being eroded and chipped away from one end of the country to the other.

That’s why I’m eager to dig into Katha Pollitt‘s new book, Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights. Pollitt has been clanging the bell for feminism — unapologetic feminism — for years. She writes for The Nation as well as pretty much every other magazine and newspaper that claims to have the ear of the Left.

Pollitt

Katha Pollitt

Adam Gopnik reviewed her book in The New Yorker this week. He wrote:

“Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights” has two major originalities. First is its lack of bowing or scraping for its pro-woman position. Abortion, in Pollitt’s view, must be seen not as a moral compromise requested by poor, weak women—we’re sorry, and we promise we’ll make it rare, but please, forgive us, we’ll still need it in extremis— but as a positive doctrine of women’s control over their own bodies, and of their own lives and destinies. Abortion, she insists, is a right integral to women’s own autonomy, not a privilege to be used as infrequently as possible.

Now, there’s an argument I can get behind.

In fact, if someone were to ask me, I’d say a woman’s pro-abortion argument should go like this:

I want to fuck. I want it as much as any man. It is in my nature to want it. I do not necessarily want to be saddled with the lifelong responsibility of caring for a human being because of it. No one else’s personal morality nor particular religious viewpoint should interfere with my ability to fuck and abort if I so desire. I am in charge of my own body!

Okay, clean up the language a little bit, sure. But still, present the case like this and the “pro-choicers” just may have a winner. It certainly couldn’t do worse than the arguments they’ve been offering since Roe v. Wade.

Hot Air

A Prayer

Opponents of same-sex marriage, acc’d’g to news reports, are holding prayer vigils today near the federal courthouse in Cincinnati.

They’re begging the putative creator of the Universe to intercede in Earthly affairs and prevent three appeals court judges from allowing men to marry men and women to marry women. The arguments from four states that have outlawed such marriages are to be reviewed beginning this morning.

Many pious folk are falling to their knees, desperate that their heavenly father should hear them in these perilous times.

Prayer

Think of it! In fact, allow me to employ my own formidable powers of imagination to portray the sound and feel of those prayers:

My dear lord, font of all love and forgiveness, the source of all light, my rock of morality and truth, hear my plea.

I beg of you to consider my heartfelt longing above those of passengers in an airplane that is heading into the side of a mountain, to prefer my humble wish before those whose children are dying, as we speak, of ebola infection, to act upon my deep desire at this moment, even as young women are undergoing forced genital mutilation, or are being raped, or who are watching as militias are dismembering their innocent sons and daughters. I ask you to bestow upon me your tender mercies and grant my entreaty above all those whose bodies are ravaged with cancer, with heart disease, and with lung disease. I yearn for you to hear me above those who suffer from mental illness, from poverty, from hunger. I kneel before you and wish you answer my call even as missiles arc over Gaza, as armies assemble near the Ukraine, as drug gangs behead innocent civilians, as hundreds of thousands of nameless and faceless individuals batter, stab, poison, strangle, suffocate, burn, and otherwise torment their fellow human beings.

Please, o lord, do not permit the judges to allow men who wish to kiss one another, who hope to hold and caress one another, who aspire to create a home with one another and have our god-given state sanction those acts.

Father in heaven, hear me. Look with scorn upon women who desire to remove their clothes in the presence of and in unison with other women, for this causes them to feel pleasure and allows them to express tender love for each other. All merciful one, please hear me and cause the judges to forbid women who love one another from visiting each other in the hospital, from inheriting each others’ belongings, and from receiving any potential tax credits or benefits as this will lead to the end of our faithful civilization.

With piety I beseech you, dear god. With love in my heart, with boundless compassion and clemency, I call upon you to fuck those queers bad.

Amen.

I wonder if god will listen.

The Sanctity Of Life

Don’t know if you’ve caught this yet, but a woman named Jenny Kutner wrote about discovering she was pregnant last week in Salon.com. The first thing she felt after making the discovery was anguish. She wrote that the positive reading on her home pregnancy test made her heart “start pounding so loud I really could hear it in my ears, just like in the movies. I left the bathroom with the test in my hand and went to go show my boyfriend, who held me while I cried and shook and tried to catch my breath.”

That doesn’t sound like the joyous beginning the anti-abortionists would have us believe all conceptions are.

Kutner continues: “What I definitely, definitely don’t want, immeasurably more than I don’t want to have an abortion, is to be pregnant or have a child.”

So she makes an appointment to have an abortion.

Planned Parenthood

Her piece, entitled, “I’m Having An Abortion This Weekend,” reveals her thoughts and fears in the days preceding the procedure. For my dough, she truly grasps how important human life is.

You’re On Your Own, Users

More than 11,000 Indiana residents have received treatment for drug addiction since 2010, thanks to a federal grant program called Access to Recovery.

It’s not easy at all to shake the monkey off your back. Addicts need help. They can’t do it alone.

Addiction

We’ve learned, too, that it costs more to repair the damage done to individuals and society by drug addiction than it does to help addicts get off the stuff. Of course, that doesn’t matter one bit to our esteemed legislators in Washington. Earlier this year, Congress slashed funding for ATR. Now Indiana won’t get any more federal dollars for its programs.

ATR-funded programs in 11 Indiana counties will be forced to cut off aid to many addicts as well as to fire a significant number of staffers.

And you thought this was a do-nothing Congress.

Hot Air

A Law Supreme

I’m very, very lucky I didn’t have internet access yesterday.

If I had, it’s a sure bet I would have written something that would have gotten me into the hottest of water with the FBI, the Secret Service, the NSA, Academi (nee Blackwater), Control, Sgt. Friday, TJ Hooker, Dirty Harry and any other law enforcement cartoon characters you can imagine. I’m hot. And if you’re not, well then, you and I have wildly divergent views on what this free society should look like.

The US Supreme Court Monday not only ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby refusing to pay for slut pills, it also further chipped away at organized labor in this holy land. Some thoughts:

  • Not only are corporations people, acc’d’g to this Court, but they are religious.
  • Justice Antonin Scalia has positioned himself as a strict constructionist ever since he came on the national scene. He’s not; he is a theocrat.
  • The five justices who voted in favor of Hobby Lobby are, natch, white men. They also were nominated by Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. Anybody, therefore, who bleats that there’s no diff. between the Democrats and the Republicans is an idiot.

Conservative Justices

Boys Club

  • Clearly, the five Republican-nominated justices cherish the right to believe in a mythical creation figure who has issued a laundry list of dos and don’ts for humanity over the right of women to control their uteri. Kids, that’s just bizarre.
  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the dissent for the minority. She is becoming a superstar on the interwebs now, with people posting pull quotes from her angry denunciation of the decision all over social media.
  • The Supreme Court also ruled that gov’t employees who don’t want to be members of unions don’t have to pay dues. That means those workers can benefit from collective bargaining w/o sharing the cost. And the Republicans say they’re four-square against freeloaders!
  • Justice Samuel Alito wrote that public employee unions are “lobbyists.” These Reagan/Bush/Bush dudes, my friends, are awfully confused.

In other Supreme Court news last week, the Nine ruled unanimously that municipalities cannot bar anti-abortion protestors from verbally assaulting or otherwise violating the personal space of abortion clinic clients on public sidewalks. As you know, any number of cities had instituted buffer zones to keep “pro-life” zealots away from women trying to enter the clinics. (Read Sara Benincasa’s remembrance of being so assaulted when she went to an abortion clinic some years ago.) I get the reasoning behind the decision, even if I don’t like it. So I was wondering, can atheists now stand outside churches and temples and shout “Suckers!” at worshipers trying to enter therein?

Overall, the importance of the November mid-term elections cannot be overstated. If the Senate goes GOP, we’re going to move even further toward the Radical Right than we have already..

Choose Your Friends Carefully

In other news of late, the influx of undocumented Central American kids in this holy land has resulted in heart-wrenching pix of and stories about the young ‘uns being warehoused in cold, dirty, concrete-floor holding centers. But the self-idolators and tinfoil cap wearers who run the crunchy, conspiracy-theory laden website Natural News have gleaned an even more insidious bit of fallout from this sad state of affairs.

Mike Adams, who’s the “brain” behind Nat. News, wrote that all these dirty immigrant kids are going to pollute our population with all their yucky germs.

Here’s Adams’ headline:

Unloading disease-carrying immigrants in large US cities a ‘perfect storm’ for pandemic disease outbreak

In the body of the piece, Adams writes that one of the reasons we should fear the kids is that they haven’t been vaccinated. A practice, BTW, that Natural News has opinionated time and again is horribly dangerous to our Aryan American citizenry.

I’ve always felt the zealot natural food and anti-chemical crowd has a bit of a Perfect Race streak in it. As in, sure, the Green Revolution has fed hundreds of millions of starving souls in Africa and Asia but, golly gee, are all those saved lives worth it if we get a trace of synthetic fertilizer in our organic cookies? There are trade-offs in every decision, as any adult would acknowledge, but the hyper-natural gang is convinced that American food must be pure, pure, pure even at the cost of a potential mass starvation in India.

Immigrant Detention

Not Perfect

Adams adds:

If infectious disease isn’t bad enough, this immigration wave also consists of “sex offenders, murder suspects and gang members….”

Old Joey Goebbels would have been proud.

BTW: Adams feels the Obama Admin. is way cool with this wave of undesirables because, “[a]fter all, these are future Democratic voters!”

Lots of natural food, sustainable agriculture, anti-Monsanto-ites seem to dig Mike Adams — who calls himself the “Health Ranger” — because, well, he and his peeps are four-square against GMOs and such.

That’s scant reason to hitch one’s wagon to a bunch of crypto-Nazis. It’d be like the vegetarians of America plastering bumper stickers of A. Hitler on their cars simply because he, too, refused to eat meat.

 

Hot Air

Real-time Abortion

If you haven’t had the chance to see that video of the woman undergoing an abortion, here it is:

The woman is named Emily Letts. The video of the surgical procedure went viral after it had won a “Stigma Busting” competition sponsored by the Abortion Care Network.

She explains her decision to record the procedure in Cosmopolitan magazine online. Just a few things I learned, reading her essay:

  • Emily was an actress at one time
  • There is such a thing as an abortion doula
  • She seems intelligent and independent, yet she engaged in sex without birth control, leading to her pregnancy
  • She was called a Nazi by one anti-abortionist

Here’s one thing I’d known about her already: she is not a criminal. Abortion is legal and condoned by medical authorities in the locale where her procedure took place.

21st Century Meh?

Make sure to check out that live video stream from cameras mounted outside the International Space Station.

You’ll see how we humans are next to nothing in relation to this planet.

One troubling thing: The streaming site has a social sidebar for viewers to chat with each other. People from all over the globe are oohing and aahing over the moving image. And you may read the term moving on several levels. It seems, based on my unscientific, casual observation, that one of the least represented countries is this holy land.

ISS HD Video Experiment

A Snippet Of The Image From The ISS

Imagine that. We Americans have paid good cash — that otherwise could have gone toward erecting a sky-high statue of Miley Cyrus — for the ISS and now it’s showing us pix our spinning home in all its jaw-dropping glory. You’d think we’d be glued to our LCDs watching this world slowly pass beneath the live cams. But no. We’ll leave that to the saps from Brazil, who seem to be giddy over the whole thing.

Ah, it’s understandable: We Americans are too busy ignoring that mass kidnapping story out of Nigeria.

Welcome To Our World

Dig this pic I found on the world’s greatest gossip site, dlisted:

From dlisted

Friends and loyal Pencillistas, if I were to select one single image to show the first visitors to Earth from another planet that would convey to them he true meaning of the United States of America, it would be this one.


Air. Hot.

Let ’em Eat Cake

One in seven Americans puts food on the table with the help of Food Stamps.

That’s 14 goddamned percent of our brothers and sisters in this holy land.

Without Food Stamps, many millions of our brothers and sisters would go hungry or suffer insufficient nourishment.

Food Stamps

The Republican House leadership, meanwhile, doesn’t give a holy shit about its American brothers and sisters. In fact, the Tea Party-led party doesn’t even consider all Americans to be related to them. Not when so many Americans are brown or black or equipped with ladyparts or, ugh, poor.

As you well know if you’re a loyal reader, I call America a holy land only in the spirit of smart-assedness.

Lavish Banquet

No Poors Allowed

We are not holy.

Girls, Ugh!

Speaking of holy, Pope Frankie has made a name for himself as a progressive. Well, relatively so, in comparison to his immediate predecessors and the boys club that constitutes the leadership councils of the Holy Mother Church.

Pope Francis

Occupy The Vatican

He has, for instance, spoken eloquently about the poor and the growing inequality of wealth across the globe, and against war and our “culture of waste.” Cool, so far.

Not long ago, he speculated that atheists who lead good lives might even gain entrance to heaven.

In July, il Papa shrugged and said, “Hey man, who am I to judge? in regard to folks who dig sex with members of, well, their own sex.

Cool again, eh?

But wait, there’s more. A wide-ranging interview with Pope Francis reveals that the successor to St. Peter, the Bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Christ, the rock upon which the Roman Catholic Church stands, and the most powerful man in the world who wears a tiara pronounced that his outfit has become obsessed of late. “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage, and the use of contraceptive methods…,” he said. “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

He also added, “I have never been a right winger.”

Wow.

It’s as though good old Jorge Bergoglio is lobbying to become the Michael Moore of the sacred set.

Francis/Moore

Separated At Birth?

The Pope is teeing a lot of people off, natch. Anti-abortionists in this holy land at this very moment are searching for evidence that Bergoglio is a socialist, a commie and, for that matter, not even born into the Catholic religion. I misplaced the link but I’m pretty sure someone, somewhere, has accused him of producing a phony baptismal record.

As for the gay thing, well, scads of grown men who have taken vows never to have sex with women and who wear skirts are tut-tutting and wagging their fingers at the Pope. He admits, “I have been reprimanded.”

Nevertheless, he still holds the crozier. Hell, you’d think the Church is a mere rubber-stamp vote away from ordaining women as priests.

Whoa. Not so fast.

Either because he is against the idea or he can read in the tea leaves that his cabinet and the rank and file among the priesthood might rise as one against him were he to come out for the ordination of women, Pope Francis said in the interview that there’s no chance women will become mid-level managers within the Catholic corporation. Unsaid, of course, is the understanding that they’ll never, ever, ever reach the boardroom. “The door,” he said, “is closed.”

Now we know: The worst sin a Catholic can commit is to possess a vagina.

Woman Is The Nigger Of The World

 

Your Daily Hot Air

A No Vote For Warren

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I love Elizabeth Warren. Love her.

Lo-o-o-o-o-o-ove her. I wanna marry her. Don’t worry; so does The Loved One. Wants to marry her, that is. We’d have a three-way marriage. We have a spare bedroom at Chez Pencil and Lizzie (as we’d affectionately address her) could sleep and change her clothes there in privacy.

Warren/AP Photo

Swoon (AP)

T-Lo and I would take turns making her breakfast. Then we’d sit there, just listening, our chins in our hands, as she, Lizzie, would expound on this or that problem or proposed law. Sigh.

So now I can say this without fear that someone would dare to think I don’t support everything she stands for:

Elizabeth Warren will never, ever, ever become the President of the United States of America.

There.

Not only that, Elizabeth Warren would make a horrifyingly bad president.

She’d be a one-termer. And, you think the Me Party wing of the GOP is dedicated to stifling the occupant of the White House now? Oh, babies, just wait until some dame who doesn’t genuflect before the banksters gets in there.

Again, I dig Lizzie the most. But she’s too smart, too eager to talk facts and figures rather than fairy tales and bedtime stories, and is too much of a hard-ass for the banksters and the Right to bear.

Anti-Warren Meme

They’re Starting Already

Look what they’ve done to Hillary Clinton over the past couple of decades. And she, Hillary, is pretty much one of them.

Hillary, IIRC, is a commie, lesbo, man-hating, murderer. What slanders could they come up with for my Lizzie, who is so much not one of them that I’m surprised they all came from the same planet, which they probably didn’t.

Honestly, I’ve been sitting here for the last ten minutes trying to think of worse accusations the wingnut Right could make against my Lizzie. So far, I’ve drawn a blank. Then again, I’m not as creative as the likes of Rush Limbaugh.

Here’s the thing: Elizabeth Warren (sigh) is the polar opposite of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The current Prez and the former Sec’y of State would say or do pretty much anything to maintain their respective toeholds in the game. Dig: Clinton voted for Georgey-boy Bush’s Iraq resolution. And Obama loaded up his administration with so many Goldman Sachs unindicted conspirators that the investment bank now holds its company picnic in the Rose Garden.

Much as I loathe those developments, that’s how people stay in the game if they want to become/remain POTUS.

Thus far, my sweet baby Lizzie appears to be incapable of such machinations.

If, by some weird turn of events, she became the boss of this holy land, she’d spend her entire four years fighting just to keep her head above water. That is, the muddy, sludgy, slimy liquid that passes for water in which Tories, crypto-racists, gun lust-ers, and rabid Christianists prefer to swim.

Polluted Water

For all Elizabeth Warren’s fine and good intentions, she wouldn’t get a thing done. Nothing.

I like her better as a senator.

Fetal Positions

You’re missing something if you haven’t read Neil Steinberg’s new blog Every Goddamn Day.

everygoddamnday

In today’s post, he recounts bumping into Joe Scheidler, the national director of the Pro-Life Action League, on Madison Street in downtown Chicago late Monday afternoon. Scheidler was participating in the PLAL’s annual summer demo, during which they carry placards featuring huge enlargements of aborted fetuses.

I recall running into the PLAL-ers any number of times when I lived in Chi. One July day I was stopped at a red light on Wacker Drive next to the then-Sears Tower and an anti-abortion demonstrator standing on the center island put his fetal hamburger picket sign right in front of my windshield.

“Get that mtherfking thing out of my face,” I hollered as I reached out the window and tried to rip it out of his hand. He dangled it just out of my grasp as if he were toying with a cat.

“You’re a sick prick,” I yelled. I had been looking forward to eating lunch and the sign had pretty much taken my appetite away. Believe me, you don’t want to be the poor soul who messes with my lunch.

Chicago-Style Hot Dog

Never Mess With My Lunch

The guy responded, “God bless you.”

“I didn’t sneeze, idiot,” I cleverly riposted.

Then I thought, damn it, I’m all bent out of shape and he’s still standing their with that religious zombie smirk on his face. The light changed and I peeled away. I never did eat lunch that day.

Anyway, here’s the exchange Steinberg had with Joe Scheidler (all sic):

“You have to admit, that being against abortion is a religious scruple,” I [Steinberg] said.

“I wouldn’t say, ‘scruple.'” he replied. “It’s in the Bible, part of the Ten Commandments: ‘Thou shall not kill.'”

“….a person,” I added.

“A baby is a person,” he said.

“A fetus isn’t a person,” I parried. “I wouldn’t want to take one to the movies.”

“The mom could go to the movies,” Joe countered.

Steinberg concludes his piece with a well-deserved indictment against the so-called pro-choice movement. If you’re “pro-choice” you’re not gonna like it. And you shouldn’t. And I hope it moves you to action.

Your Daily Hot Air

Opinions Of Difference

From Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent to the US Supreme Court’s opinion striking down the key portion of the Voting Rights Act:

Throwing out the Voting Rights Act when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.

Ginsburg

One Tough Old Bird

It’s been said enough that sometimes I even buy it: the differences between the Democrats and the Republican can be measured by the thimbleful.

Well, you can take that stale canard and shove it right up your Supreme Court.

You Can’t Tell The Justices Without A Scorecard

Here are your Reagan/Bush/Bush US Supreme Court justices:

  • Antonin Scalia

  • Anthony Kennedy

  • Clarence Thomas

  • John Roberts

  • Samuel Alito

And here are the justices nominated by presidents Clinton and Obama:

  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg

  • Stephen Breyer

  • Sonia Sotomayor

  • Elena Kagan

I ask you, who would you rather spend a summer evening drinking shots and beers with: Ginsburg or Clarence Thomas?

Thomas

Eek!

Sex In Tex. Etc.

The Loved One will brain me if I don’t mention last night’s eruption in the Texas Senate. State Senator Wendy Davis earned herself  gobs of political points with her filibuster against the state’s proposed abortion-killing bill.

Live vid of Davis’ pals and supporters hooting and hollering over the Senate president’s attempts to squeeze a vote in before the midnight deadline actually drove The Loved One out of bed whereupon she dashed into my garage office, shouting “Are you watching? Are you watching? This is historic! Turn it on!”

I hate to be the buzzkiller here, but there is history and there is Texas history. Leave it to Molly Ivins to educate us:

Dig, man, the plaster-saint theocrats of the Texas state legislature flat out don’t want women to feel pleasure. Go ahead; argue with me. You’ll lose.

FYI, in case you live in a cloister: a dildo is a dick-shaped implement that many females use for personal reasons. Here is an actual dick:

You’re welcome.

[This just in: Texas men have already declared war on Davis. Or maybe this is just a side battle in their ongoing War on Women. Anyway, Davis’ Fort Worth office was firebombed overnight. Nothin’ sez “pro-life” like throwing a firebomb.]

Your Daily Hot Air

Raison D’Etre

Sometimes I wonder why I push this boulder up the mountain on a daily basis. The Pencil isn’t making me rich. Nor have millions bookmarked this site. But, like pizza, the Cubs, and taking naps, writing the Pencil is irresistible for me. I can no sooner stop churning out these screeds than I can abstain from turning the air conditioning down to 70 degrees seconds after The Loved One has dialed it up to 72.

There are rewards in this Sisyphean endeavor. I seem to have attracted a number of very nice, decent, and thoughtful conservative readers. For instance, check the comment by Mari Loosen under yesterday’s “Abortion: It’s A Laff Riot” entry.

Now, Mari and I understand that the only thing we agree upon is the fact the the sun rises in the east, and even that might be open for debate on certain days. No matter. She reads the Pencil, well…, religiously.

But the last thing we’d ever do is call each other names. So this tiny space on the interwebs is our way of standing up for civility in this very uncivil world of political debate.

Satan

We Disagree; Ergo, You’re Satan

I’ll continue to come down as hard as I can on Right Wingers who are unreasonable or destructive. And willful stupidity makes me want to throw tomatoes at those who parade it proudly. But anyone who wants to argue for a rational, heartfelt conservatism is always welcome here.

I’m thankful for everyone who’s a Pencillista.

Bad Guy

Now, then. Let us consider one of those unreasonable, destructive Right Wingers who wallow in willful stupidity.

That would be one James E. O’Keefe, the noted video saboteur and revolutionary Tory.

You may remember him from his appearances on national television in this get-up:

OKeefe

Yeah, O’Keefe’s the upper middle class white boy who disguised himself as an inner city pimp so he might create havoc in an office of ACORN, the international social service agency.

ACORN’s aim was to help poor people, simple as that. But since the folks who ran the org. didn’t run away shrieking whenever anybody used the term “social” to describe it, Cro-Magnons like O’Keefe immediately assumed they were “socialist,” much like the Kenyan-born Manchurian Candidate who’d stolen the office of President of the United States and who was driving them to extremes of lunacy they’d previously managed to keep hidden.

O’Keefe and some equally well-fed female cohort pretended they were a pimp and a streetwalker trying to get ACORN to finance their illegal sex enterprise, their way of showing that community organizations and social service agencies are more interested in destroying the fabric of society than, y’know, helping people. They played their roles as a hidden camera rolled. Then, using misleading edits, they spliced together what they thought was a damning video indictment of all things liberal. Their end goal was the downfall of ACORN.

Social Service

Another Commie, Helping Someone

And guess what: they succeeded.

Repugnican Congressbeings and their spineless Democratic counterparts bought the scam hook, line, and sinker. Federal funding for ACORN was cut off and the ensuing shit-storm of bad pub dried up the agency’s other sources of revenue. Next thing you knew, ACORN was out of biz and poor folks who’d come to rely on them to help in matters of voting rights, housing, safety, health care and other things that come by divine right to upper middle class white punks like O’Keefe could just go straight to hell.

And that wasn’t O’Keefe’s only sin. He was busted along with three henchmen trying to bug Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu’s office in 2010. He secretly recorded NPR executives. He misrepresented and slandered Planned Parenthood, and more. Overall, his deviousness would make Tricky Dick Nixon’s rat-fuckers envious.

And perhaps worst of all, he now writes for the thankfully-dead Andrew Breitbart’s eponymous online orgy of yellow journalism.

I bring this chucklehead up not for gratuitous purposes, although, I’d be thrilled to eviscerate him for no better reason, but because he has somehow conned a reputable publisher to put out a book of his verbal emesis. Or should I say formerly reputable?

Anyway, most of you know I’m also a bookseller. I peddle ’em at the Book Corner, Bloomington’s only remaining independent book store. Yesterday, I posted a mini-manifesto on the Book Corner’s Facebook page. I thought I’d share it with you here:

A Bookseller Draws A Line In The Sand.

Hello, Book Corner fans, customers, and supporters. This is your loyal and congenial bookseller, Michael G. Glab, more familiarly known as Big Mike.

As you know, I have never quibbled with any customer over her or his choice of reading material. I have happily sold even Bill O’Reilly’s assassination-porn series of books. I’ve always believed that reading is a good thing, regardless of the topic (even tarot stuff and James Patterson novels.)

But I must make a stand here and now. Today, Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, released a book written by James O’Keefe, the self-styled “citizen-journalist” whose ambush methods and “creative” video editing style have resulted in numerous sabotaged careers, the destruction of a national social service agency, and innumerable instances of deception, prevarication, and dissembling designed to confuse participants in the arena of political discourse. The book is entitled Breakthrough: Our Guerilla War to Expose Fraud and Save Democracy.

The book, like the man who purportedly wrote it (I am aware of no evidence at this time that he is able to read and write), is dangerous. Therefore, I can not in good conscious sell it to you in the unlikely event that we should stock it.

With all due respect, if you approach me and ask for the book, I will politely request that you take your custom elsewhere. I am certain there is a perfectly good bookstore in Hell that is even now stocking the book.

Happy Reading!
Big Mike
Tuesday, June 18, 2013

You know, business is business and all that, but sometimes a guy just has to follow his conscience.

Your Daily Hot Air

Women’s Lib

How about this for good news?

The new NASA astronaut training class is 50 percent female.

Yup. Four of the eight members of next two-year training program are women. And get this: the NASA guy in charge of spin, Jay Bolden, tells us, “The selection is about qualifications. It has nothing to do with their genders.”

Imagine that.

2013 NASA Astronauts

Newest Astronauts (l to r):

Christina Hammock, Nicole Aunapu Mann, Anne McClain, Dr. Jessica Meir

We’re becoming more and more genital-blind. We’ll have a woman president sooner rather than later. The fact that a woman, Marissa Mayer, runs a big outfit like Yahoo, isn’t breathtaking news anymore. And, with Mayer calling the shots, Yahoo now has liberalized its maternity leave policy.

Prior to these enlightened days, male company bosses preferred their female employees to squat in the field behind the factory, drop their babies, and get right back on the assembly line just as soon as they washed their hands.

So things are changing. We forget that when we fixate on the crypto-sociopaths who populate the loon wing of the Republican party.

Anyway, this is an appropriate day for NASA’s announcement. It was thirty years ago today that Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. She rode aboard STS-7, the Space Shuttle Challenger.

Sally Ride

BTW: Sally Ride was a lesbian. Sadly, she felt compelled to participate in a beard marriage in the 1980s, presumably to protect her career.

Frustration

Grrr.

So, I’m listening to NPR’s Morning Edition as I pound this post out on my keyboard. And I’m thinking I’m pretty smart, tying in the four new female astronauts with the Sally Ride anniversary. Just as I’m correcting some misspellings, whaddya think happens?

Those commie NPR rats (I know this about them because the aforementioned crypto-sociopathic Republican loons have told me so) run a piece about Sally Ride’s ride, leading it off with a mention of the new female space cadets. As if that isn’t bad enough, while I’m patting myself on the back for the song vid I’m going insert at the end of the entry, NPR plays that very song as a bumper after its story!

The jerks.

Well, I don’t care. I’m nothing if not a stubborn old bear. I’m still gonna insert a vid of the fab song “Mustang Sally.” Only this version is by blues bossman Buddy Guy. I’m way cooler than you are, NPR.

Nepotism

This seems as good a time as any to shill for my very talented and cool cousin who runs the eponymous Paul Parello’s Blues Power radio, video, and live performance operation.

And, hey, here’s cuz (on the left) in a bit part as a tough guy in the movie, “The Dark Knight.” That’s Eric Roberts on the right.

From "The Dark Knight"

What, you thought I was the only one with talent to emerge from the Parello gene strain?

Abortion: It’s A Laff Riot!

Um, uh, yeah, I s’pose…, if you’re a member of — you guessed it — that gang of crypto-sociopathic Republican loons I twice mention above.

Alex Seitz-Wald in yesterday’s Salon tells us that the Repugnicans are thinking of flooding the interwebs with baby-killing humor just so’s they can attract that snark-loving younger crowd (who haven’t voted for the GOP since, er, um, ever.)

Audience Laughing

Stop It, Your Killin’ Me!

Seitz-Wald quotes a member of the Hitler Youth…, er, sorry, Students for Life, Kristan Hawkins telling a panel at last weekend’s gathering of the Ku Klux Klan…, oops, sorry again, Faith and Freedom Coalition, “You can engage with sarcasm. It’s hard in the abortion issue, but you have to.”

Surprised? Need I remind you that many Republicans still hold to the terrifying belief that Sarah Palin would have made an acceptable Vice President of the United States of America?

Or that this man could lead our holy land?

Trump

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